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Bryce’s Laws

Axioms on Information Resource Management (IRM), management, and life.

MINI-POSTERS (8.5″ X 11″, PDF)
BRYCE’S LAWS ON: LIFE, MANAGEMENT, INFORMATION SYSTEMS, PROJECT MANAGEMENT

MORALITY PLEDSE

Productivity = Effectiveness X Efficiency

Information = Data + Processing

There is nothing more unproductive than to build something efficiently that should not have been built at all.

Organizations progress when the impact of good actions and decisions outweighs the impact of poor actions and decisions.

The solution to improved productivity is not better software but rather a better understanding of business and its objectives.

IRM is the view of the enterprise from 50,000 feet.

We must apply the same discipline, organization and automation that we recommend for other parts of the company.

Technology alone will not solve our problems, only effective management will.

No amount of elegant programming or technology will solve a problem if it is improperly specified or understood to begin with.

If anything in life is constant, it is change. The only constant involved with information is that it is seldom static.

Consumers prefer to be spoon-fed changes with teaspoons.

If an information requirement is stated improperly to begin with, then everything else that follows will be incorrect.

Remember, it’s Ready, Aim, Fire; any other sequence is counterproductive.

The only way that information systems communicate, both internally and externally to other systems, is through shared data.

The more we understand about the external entities affecting our business, as well as our own internal operating limitations, the better we can compete.

Data is the glue that holds systems together.

Data is stored, Information is produced.

There is little point in collecting data, if you are not going to use the information.  The only exception is to create a bureaucracy or busy work.

A data element has only one logical definition, but may be represented physically in many different ways.

Group Data tells us a lot about what objects are important to an enterprise.

Data Resource Management is a neutral third party who represents the enterprise’s overall interests, not just a single application.

Quality must be built into the product during design, not inspected in afterwards.

Craftsmanship = (Knowledge + Experience + Attitude) X Success

Enterprises with identical missions will also be identical in terms of logical structure.

Regardless of company size, the concerns of executive management are all essentially the same.

Never embark on a journey without knowing your destination.

Whereas logical information resources will remain relatively static, the physical resources will change dynamically.

100% of your design documentation is contained in the specifications of your information resources.

Information is a perishable commodity; it only has value at a particular point in time.

Information is highly volatile in that it is greatly influenced by external factors, such as government, economics, competition, customers, etc.

There is little point in producing information if nobody is going to act on it.

If the input is wrong, everything that follows will be wrong.

An elegant solution to the wrong problem solves nothing.

The day a company goes into business is the day when its information systems are born.

Only when the systems engineer can walk in the moccasins of the user does the engineer have a right to design a system for the user.

Information is for people, not for the computer.

An information system is a product that can be engineered and manufactured like any other product.

Systems =/= Computers
Systems =/= Software
Systems =/= Projects

Q: How many interpretations of systems development are there?
A: How many analysts and programmers have you got?

All information systems have the same structure. In manufacturing terms, it is known as a “four-level bill of material.”

Systems are designed by ‘explosion’ and implemented by ‘implosion.’

Documentation is a working tool and a byproduct of design.

The word ‘re-engineering’ implies something was ‘engineered’ in the first place, which is rarely the case.

No one has ever built a perfect system the first time, and no one ever will.

Systems are built by evolution; not by revolution. The day when a system is installed, is the day it begins to undergo change.

85% of all systems development work is modifications/improvements.

Good Systems Design + Good Programming = Great Systems
Good Systems Design + Bad Programming = Good Systems
Bad Systems Design + Good Programming = Bad Systems
Bad Systems Design + Bad Programming = Chaos

How a system is implemented is of little importance if it solves the problem effectively.

Forgetting the human-being during design will cause the human-being to forget the system at time of startup; it will be DOA, Dead On Arrival.

Systems are logical, programming is physical.

Programming is a translation function, going from human understandable specifications to machine readable instructions.

Good specifications will always improve programmer productivity far better than any programming tool or technique.

Whenever you see a ratio of 1:4 analysts:programmers you will find systems analysis being performed at the wrong time and by the wrong person.

Beware of your “firefighters,” they are probably your chief arsonists.

If we built bridges the same way we build systems in this country, this would be a nation run by ferryboats.

There are very few true artists in computer programming, most are just house painters.

Systems will fail more for the lack of administrative procedures than well written computer procedures.

A program without any form of transaction serves no useful business purpose.

The first on-line, real-time, interactive, data base system was double-entry bookkeeping which was developed by the merchants of Venice in 1200 A.D.

Successful screen design is based on how well the developer knows both the user and the data.

All organizations have a data base; some are managed, most are not.

A Data Base should naturally evolve over time and synchronize with all Information Systems.

Most organizations use a DBMS as nothing more than an elegant file access method. Consequently, the opportunity to share data and integrate systems is lost.

You must first plant the seeds in order to harvest the crop. Unfortunately, most companies tend to eat the seed and then there is no crop to harvest.

There is only one problem with common sense; it’s not very common.

A methodology is nothing more than an assembly line that produces a finished product.

A methodology defines the 5W’s + H (Who is to perform What, When, Where, Why, and How).

Every step in a methodology should produce a reviewable result in order to substantiate completion and assure a quality product.

Without a road map, you might be driving in circles.

Project management is only possible with an effective methodology.

(Relating to Methodologies) – The least expensive decision will be the price of the package.

Having a Project Management system without a methodology is like attaching a speedometer to an orange crate; it measures nothing.

When you are constructing a building, it’s a bad idea to start with the roof.

The number of lines of communications grow exponentially based on the number of people involved in a project.

Our electronic communications may be very slick, but if neither party knows what the other is talking about, you are going nowhere fast.

Systems do not have a “life cycle.” They may go on forever if kept viable with change. The only thing that has a “life cycle” is a project which has a beginning for planning, a middle for execution, and an end for review.

It is one thing to enact legislation, quite another to enforce it.

Project management is a philosophy of management, not a tool or technique.

Most estimating errors are errors of omission, not commission. It is what we forget to estimate that gets us into trouble.

An estimate improves in accuracy in relation to the level of detail considered.

It is important that both costs and benefits be thoroughly defined and scrutinized. After all, there is little point in throwing good money after bad.

A project always has a critical path until it is completed or closed. The path can vary depending on accomplishments.

A project requires a methodology, but a methodology does not require a project.

It is just as bad to underrun a project as it is to overrun a project.

If we lived in a perfect world, there would not be a need for managers; projects would be executed on time and within cost. However, the reality is, we live in an imperfect world.

The last 1% of a project can take as long as the first 99%.

Effectiveness Rate = Direct ÷ (Direct + Indirect)

A Systems Development Manager speaks with a forked tongue.

Managers do not create problems, they solve problems.

The successful manager is one who does himself out of a job.

A manager is not in a popularity contest.

Manage from the bottom up; not just from the top down; this creates personal commitment and accountability.

When it comes to working for an incompetent manager, you basically have three alternatives: fight, quit, or work; all of which are no-win situations.

A project will only be accomplished if the individuals performing the work want to do it.

We accomplish projects through people.

Manage more, supervise less.

The only good business relationship is where both parties benefit.

Employees should be treated as professionals and held accountable for their actions.

All companies have a culture. In order for employees to function and succeed, it is essential they understand and believe in the culture.

Culture is learned. It can be taught and enforced.

The ethics of a business are whatever the top-dog says they are.

Time lost, is time lost forever. You cannot buy it back.

People act on their perceptions of reality, regardless if it is correct or fallacious.
They are not so much concerned with facts as they are in perspectives and self interests.
Just remember, if the input is wrong, everything that ensues will be wrong.

Message X Media = Perception

You cannot capitalize on your workers’ talents if you do not know their skills and proficiencies.

You cannot put two quarts of liquid into a one quart bottle. If you try, you will lose a quart.

An expert is someone who lives more than 50 miles out of town and wears a tie to work.

“We never have enough time to do things right.” 
Translation: “We have plenty of time to do things wrong.”

Just because it is on a “PRIDE” form, doesn’t mean it was prepared using “PRIDE.”

The word “man” is embedded in the word “management” for a reason.

The “man” in the word “management” refers to “mankind.”
Don’t forget it.

Do not try to apply a band-aid when a tourniquet is required to stop the bleeding.

All of your hard work, regardless of how well it is intended, is for naught if it results in a pile of rubbage.

If there is no governing science supporting it, use of the term ‘engineering’ is fraudulent and misleading.

You cannot treat a patient if he doesn’t know he is sick.

A man’s trustworthiness is measured by the number of keys he holds.

Most children are raised by amateurs, not professionals.

Never trust a person who doesn’t have at least one known vice (e.g., drinking, smoking, swearing).

Business is about people, not just numbers.

Management is more of a benevolent dictatorship as opposed to a democracy.

Don’t watch the clock, watch the product or service to be produced.

Unless someone is looking for an excuse to duck a work assignment, nobody wants to attend an inconsequential meeting.

Only an a****** comes to a meeting without something to write with.

I have never encountered a technical problem that couldn’t be conquered with a little imagination, some concentrated effort, and a lot of good old-fashioned management.

Lawsuits primarily benefit the attorneys and nobody else.

A policy is written to protect a company from those who break the rules, not from those who follow them.

Technology without Management is Madness.

Parkinson’s Law as applied to Information Technology:
As computer hardware capacity increases, software becomes more bloated.

You eat elephants one spoonful at a time.

You simply can’t build anything of substance without a good set of blueprints.

If you are not pissing someone off, you are probably not doing your job.

If you are not using the right bait, you’ll catch nothing.

If the mind really is the finest computer, then there are a lot of people out there who need to be rebooted.

If they do not have an appreciation of whence we came, I doubt they will have an appreciation of where we should be going.

In this industry, we tend to worry about the wrong things. This is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

It’s never lonely at the top of an IT organization, primarily because the IT Director is never there.

It’s hard to keep going forward when logic tells you otherwise.

Forget about today, build for tomorrow.

Social intercourse is a two way street. Make sure you are driving on the right side.

Do not criticize unless you can offer an alternative.
Turn something negative into something positive.

As the use of technology increases, social skills decreases.

There is more to building a team than buying new uniforms.

Loyalty = Trust

A resume is either an accurate description of a person’s capabilities or demonstrates how well someone can write fiction.

How we look and act speaks volumes.

Everything begins with a sale.

“Bullshit” is the most versatile word in the English language. It can be applied in just about any business situation. Frankly, we do not use it enough.

Just because someone understands what you are saying, doesn’t mean they necessarily agree with you.

When you find someone you believe in, do not hesitate to stand by him through thick and thin.

Never let a job be held hostage by an employee.

The Baby Boomers will be more remembered for the problems they left behind as opposed to anything they accomplished during their tenure.

Youth is our only true vacation in life, and our most unappreciated.

There is no such thing as a bad cigar. It’s a matter of matching the right person with the right cigar.

The simplest way to kill anything is to simply eliminate its energy source.

We write to communicate, not to put people to sleep.

In most cases, you can only be taken advantage of if you allow yourself to be taken.

If you do something wrong long enough, you think it is right.

It’s not the time you put in, it’s the work product you put out.

Even if you provide a person with a map, there is no guarantee he will read it.

Those who do not do their homework do not graduate.

The road to truth is rarely without bumps and bends.

Simple economics motivates everyone, particularly politicians.

The amount of risk we assume is proportional to the responsibilities we accept.

If you do not laugh once and a while, you’ll cry a lot.

Your most lethal weapon is your mouth.

Nothing irritates your opponents more than to see you succeed when you are expected to fail.

Do not underestimate the power of the company party.

Progress is arrested when we surrender to the status quo, that we no longer strive to exceed it.

If a single picture is worth a thousand words, imagine what a video provides.

It takes a brave soul to divert from the path of least resistance.

Appearances mean little if people can see through your disguise.

It is a fallacy that a cluttered desk is the sign of a brilliant mind.

The naysayers of the world take pleasure in chiding you as to what cannot be done.
Prove them wrong and return the favor.

Sometimes intelligence is nothing more than experience in disguise.

How to become financially responsible: Start each day by paying a bill.
You’ll learn your fiscal priorities quickly.

It pays to try and ride a different horse now and then.

The road to truth is rarely without bumps and bends.

The longer you delay admitting a mistake, the more expensive it will be to correct.

One “No” can be more valuable than 100 “Yeses” if told at the right moment.

All arguments are settled at the cemetery.

There is always a heavy price to pay for keeping up with the Jones’.

Two irrefutable facts regarding investing in the stock market: The moment you purchase a stock, you can count on it declining immediately, and; The moment you sell your stock, it will either immediately soar to new heights, split, or both.

In every person’s life, you must eat at least one spoonful of dirt.

You know you are getting older when you begin having arguments with inanimate objects, and you lose.

Everything eventually ends up in the garbage dump.

Traffic lights are green only when you do not have an appointment to make.

The only problem with “going with the flow” is you are in all likelihood blindly headed towards a waterfall.

You cannot appreciate the past until you have experienced the future.

Bureaucrats exist to impede progress, not expedite it.

The customer should never have to wait to pay the bill.

The only thing worse than not being prepared is not knowing you are not prepared.

That light at the end of the tunnel is not necessarily the end, but perhaps an express train coming straight at you.

The smallest dog usually has the biggest mouth.

When you curse an inanimate object, you are actually cursing yourself.

What we introduced in 1971 as our original “PRIDE” Methodology for System Design is still light years ahead of the industry. It’s not bragging when it is a fact.


Copyright © 1971-2017 by M&JB Investment Company
Palm Harbor, Florida, USA
All rights reserved.

10 Responses to “Bryce’s Laws”

  1. Tim Bryce said

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  2. […] https://timbryce.com/bryces-laws/ […]

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  3. […] Bryce’s Laws […]

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  4. […] introduced the concept of “Bryce’s Laws” back in the 1970′s as a means to explain our concepts of systems, data base management, and […]

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  5. […] Bryce’s Laws […]

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  6. […] Bryce’s Laws […]

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  7. […] Tim Bryce said it best: […]

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  8. Bob Muma said

    I’d like to offer a slight refinement to the first law, Information = Processed Data

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    • Tim Bryce said

      Thanks Bob, but what we’re trying to point out is that there are two variables involved with producing information, data and processing. If the data remains constant, but the processing changes, than the Information changes. Conversely, if the processing remains constant, but the data changes, then the Information will likewise change. By doing so, we are making an argument to control data and processing resources to produce the information we need.

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  9. […] Bryce’s Laws […]

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